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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
12 January 2006

KYRGYZSTAN: Year in Brief 2005 - Chronology of key events

BISHKEK, 12 Jan 2006 (IRIN) -

January February March April
May June July August
September October November December




JANUARY


27 January - A leading rights activist has warned of possible violence in the run-up to next month's parliamentary elections in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan. "The people will go to streets to protest," Ramazan Dyryldaev, chairman of the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights, told IRIN from Vienna on Thursday, warning authorities in his homeland could resort to violence. "Kyrgyz opposition and citizens are moving towards a Georgian or Ukraine-like revolution. I am getting information on that from various sources. At least there is already a move in that direction," he said.

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FEBRUARY


8 February - Government-supported and independent media have received strict instructions on how to cover parliamentary elections scheduled for 27 February, journalists in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, told IRIN. Glowing coverage of pro-government candidates is mandatory, while the rest should receive minimum media attention, according to the directives. "We report the way the presidential administration has demanded. Anybody interested in losing their jobs just needs to provide impartial analysis of the situation [parliamentary elections]," the chief editor of a government-controlled mass media outlet, said on condition of anonymity.

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MARCH


24 March - Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev was reported to have fled the country on Thursday after thousands of opposition protesters took control of the capital, Bishkek, following a day of unprecedented disturbances. The Russian Interfax news agency reported Akayev was in northern Kazakhstan together with his family. Leading opposition figure, Felix Kulov, said that Akayev had wanted to go to Russia but was rejected. "He had a chance to resign, but he fled," Kulov, who was released from prison as Akayev's government was toppled, said in televised comments. "He wanted to go Russia, but the Russians didn't accept him, and he is now in some other country."

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APRIL


26 April - Anti-corruption activists have applauded a move by Kyrgyzstan's interim government to investigate the business interests of former president Askar Akayev and his family, calling upon the Kyrgyz authorities for systematic and comprehensive reforms to tackle corruption in the former Soviet republic.

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MAY


16 May - The United Nations in Kyrgyzstan has launched an assessment mission to the south of the country and the goverment has opened a refugee camp, after more than 1,000 Uzbeks crossed into the country following three days of violence in eastern Uzbekistan. Human rights groups in Uzbekistan estimate the clashes left 600 people dead. The head of the Kyrgyz office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Carlos Zaccagnini, is in the south of the country with members of a UN inter-agency mission. "The UN group is involved now in practical steps to find solutions to the current crisis with refugees and the sharpening of the political situation in the south," Olga Grebennikova, public information officer for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kyrgyzstan, told IRIN on Monday.

24 May - The status of hundreds of Uzbek asylum seekers in Kyrgyzstan who fled recent violence in the eastern Uzbek province of Andijan remains unclear. "Currently, they are [considered] displaced persons," Zafar Khakimov, head of the Kyrgyz migration service, told IRIN from the capital, Bishkek, on Tuesday. "They get the status of refugee only after official inquiries conducted under the UN Convention on Refugees, have been completed." His comments came 11 days after hundreds of Uzbeks fled Andijan where the Uzbek security forces reportedly opened fire on thousands of protesters in the city square, killing up to 1,000, according to local rights groups. The Uzbek government said that only 169 were killed.

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JUNE


17 June - Hundreds of protesters on Friday stormed a government building in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, demanding that businessman Urmatbek Baryktabasov be allowed to register as a candidate for next month's presidential election. "I came from Ton district [Issykkul province, where Baryktabasov originates] to express my discontent with the new authorities and support our candidate", Shaktybek, one of the protestors, said enthusiastically.

27 June - The UN's Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees, Kamel Morjane, expressed concern about Kyrgyz threats to repatriate Uzbek refugees fleeing mass killings in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijan last month. He was speaking in the capital, Bishkek on Monday. "We are especially concerned that 29 people who are today in detention in [the southern Kyrgyz city of] Osh. They were taken from the [Uzbek] refugee camp in Jalal-Abad after official requests from Uzbekistan", Morjane said at a press conference.

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JULY


13 July - Villagers in parts of Kyrgyzstan particularly vulnerable to natural disasters are angry that government policy, which aims to compensate them for resettling in safer areas, is not being followed. “Last year people from the MEE [Ministry of Emergency and Ecology] came here and agreed to resettle us but I still cannot get the money to resettle,” said 57-year-old Jurabai Baikuliev. He continues to live with his two sons in Aksy district in the province of Jalal-Abad, in southern Kyrgyzstan, a region especially at risk from landslides.

27 July - Hundreds of Uzbek asylum seekers in southern Kyrgyzstan will be resettled to a third country, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) confirmed to IRIN on Wednesday. According to the UNHCR mission in Kyrgyzstan, all Uzbek asylum seekers, namely 423 people, in the Sasyk-Bulak camp in the southern Kyrgyz province of Jalal-Abad would be resettled. More than 500 Uzbeks crossed the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border early on 14 May, one day after Uzbek security forces violently suppressed protests in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijan. The Uzbek government said that the death toll was 187, but rights groups claimed that almost 1,000 unarmed civilians may have been shot in and around Andijan by Uzbek police and soldiers.

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AUGUST


16 August - Activists believe that more than 1,000 Uzbeks may still be in Kyrgyzstan and in need of assistance after fleeing from a violent government crackdown in the southeastern Uzbek city of Andijan on 13 May. More than 400 Uzbek refugees from Andijan recently left Kyrgyzstan under the protection of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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SEPTEMBER


16 September - The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) confirmed on Friday it had successfully evacuated eleven more Uzbek nationals - part of the original Andijan 15 - out of Kyrgyzstan for third country resettlement. "I can confirm that the group has left Kyrgyzstan and is now bound for London," Carlos Zaccagnini, chief of mission for UNHCR, said from the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, referring to the UNHCR-mandated refugees who boarded a scheduled British Airlines flight at 10:00 am local time.

22 September - Health officials in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, said on Thursday that although falling in some areas, maternal and child mortality rates for the former Soviet republic of 5.1 million were still unacceptably high, especially in rural parts of the country. “In the past, we considered the foetus as a living organism from 28 weeks, now we consider it alive from 22 weeks, according to World Heath Organization (WHO) criteria. So it looks like an increase in the rate of infant mortality. However, [despite this] the rate of infant and maternal mortality is still high in rural areas,” Roza Amiraeva, head gynecologist at the health ministry, said.

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OCTOBER


11 October - A quarantine has been imposed in parts of southern Kyrgyzstan after nine people were hospitalised in the southern province of Jalal-Abad with suspected anthrax, health officials said on Tuesday. "The situation is very serious and there are more infected cases amongst both residents and cattle. We have screened around 130 people for anthrax so far," Abdykalyk Nazarov, head of the provincial epidemiological unit, said from Jalal-Abad, capital of the southern province of the same name.

18 October - Gender discrimination has been reduced but much more progress is needed on the path to equality, the UN’s population agency has reported. Gulnara Kadyrkulova, executive representative of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Kyrgyzstan, said at the launch of the agency’s latest report in the capital Bishkek on Monday: “This report reflects many problems around the world, but many of these problems are very similar to those that we have here in Kyrgyzstan."

26 October - Rival groups held demonstrations on Tuesday in the centre of the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. One group, about 300 strong, was made up of relatives and supporters of Tynychbek Akmatbaev, a member of parliament killed last week by inmates during a visit to a prison near the capital. They called for the resignation of the country’s prime minister, Felix Kulov, who they believe was behind the killing. It was the fourth day of protest in front of the nation’s parliament building.

31 October - A series of prison protests over the past month in Kyrgyzstan has highlighted the need for reform in the country's burgeoning penitentiary system, where poor living conditions, disease and malnutrition fuel protests, say experts. The situation in the penal system was dramatically brought to public attention when the head of the parliament's committee on defence and law enforcement, Tynychbek Akmatbaev, was killed on 20 October while visiting the Moldovanovka prison near the capital, Bishkek.

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[ENDS]

This material comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but May not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All materials copyright © UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2006



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